One night removed from the extraordinary Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, WWE Monday Night Raw delivered all the fallout from the event, but not in a fashion that many fans would have hoped. Although this show was mostly mediocre, there's no questioning that things can only get better from here with WrestleMania 29 quickly approaching.
Here, I will analyze each significant segment presented on the show. I will also provide a combination of prediction and wishful thinking about what I hope to see in the coming weeks.
CM Punk Challenges John Cena to a Match on Next Week's Raw
Strong promo from John Cena and CM Punk to kick off the show. Cena is always at his best when he's taking the serious approach in his promos, so it was good to see that from him here.
Punk's interruption was logical and mentioning that Cena has never beaten him (or least in a title match) was a nice touch. Cena came off as a moron for putting his WWE title shot on the line, but it was done in a way where it made sense and I don't have a problem with it.
Punk vs. Cena is a major matchup, so I'm glad that they're hyping it for next week's show.
Mark Henry def. Sin Cara
Basic squash match with Mark Henry dominating Sin Cara. Henry is an absolute beast, so having him decimate Sin Cara here came as no surprise.
Now, why in the blazing blue hell would you have The Great Khali come out to fend off Henry? I understand that Henry took Khali out last week on Raw, but this is not a feud anyone wants to see.
If a rivalry with Khali is what they have in mind for Henry at WrestleMania, then I've officially lost all faith in the Creative team.
The Miz def. United States Champion Antonio Cesaro in a No Disqualification Match (non-Title)
Fine No Disqualification match between United States champion Antonio Cesaro and The Miz. It was strange to see this match not hyped whatsoever, especially given the stipulation attached to it.
The action was fine for what it was, but it was never given enough time to fully develop into something memorable. Miz winning was logical in setting up a championship rematch for 'Mania, but I'd much rather see Cesaro take on a fresh face instead.
World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Dolph Ziggler with AJ Lee and Big E Langston (non-Title)
Great match between World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler. These two have excellent chemistry with one another and managed to keep an exciting pace throughout the bout.
However, this is the third time we've seen this match in the last three weeks, so it felt repetitive and obvious that Del Rio was going over. Ziggler's attempted Money in the Bank cash-in following the contest was unbelievable merely because Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger for the World title is set in stone for WrestleMania 29.
Sheamus Interrupts Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett
Meaningless promo from Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett. All he did was air a trailer for a movie that he hardly stars in anyway.
To make matters even worse, Sheamus basically made the entire segment feel like a complete waste of time, which it was anyway. If we're supposed to be getting Barrett vs. Bo Dallas for the Intercontinental title at WrestleMania 29 (a match I don't honestly want to see on the grandest stage of them all), shouldn't the build for that bout begin now?
Brodus Clay, Tensai and Naomi def. Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes
Throwaway six-person tag team match with Brodus Clay, Tensai and Naomi defeating Primo, Epico and Rosa Mendes. The action was harmless for the most part, but it definitely came off as nothing more than filler.
It's disappointing that this tag team division has been relegated to this following its resurgence a few months ago. I don't hate the pairing of Clay and Tensai, but they simply don't do anything for me.
Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter Deliver a "State of the Union" Address
Solid promo from Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter. It tied in nicely with President's Day, and Coulter's mic work was fantastic.
Although some may see it as borderline racist, I'm personally fine with it since it does an effective job of garnering heat, which is what Swagger needs at this point. One of Swagger's biggest weaknesses has always been his way with words, so I'm glad that Coulter will be enhancing his act going into his World title match with Del Rio at 'Mania.
Jack Swagger with Zeb Coulter def. WWE Tag Team Champion Daniel Bryan
Good match between Jack Swagger and WWE Tag Team champion Daniel Bryan. It was very well wrestled and received a substantial amount of time.
The outcome was never in doubt, but the action was still enjoyable regardless. This was a nice win for the Real American and I hope he continues to maintain the strong momentum going into the show of shows.
Mr. McMahon Challenges Paul Heyman to a Fight on Next Week's Raw
Flat segment involving Vickie Guerrero, Paul Heyman, Brad Maddox and Mr. McMahon. The crowd was dead for almost everything that was said, but who can blame them?
The announcements were nothing to get excited about and didn't pack much of a punch. I like Maddox being named Vickie's new assistant since that could be fun, but he barely gets a reaction from the crowd, so the live audience couldn't have cared less when he came out.
The Shield def. Chris Jericho, Sheamus and Ryback
Entertaining six-man tag team match with The Shield defeating Chris Jericho, Sheamus and Ryback. Ryback took most of the abuse from The Shield, but the offense from Sheamus and Jericho was well done.
I'm happy to see The Shield continuing to pick up significant victories, as it boosts its credibility and establishes the group as a threat. I'm not sure if Jericho will be turning heel or not, but I'd much rather see him involved in a feud with Dolph Ziggler at WrestleMania rather than Ryback.
Kofi Kingston vs. Damien Sandow Went to a No-Contest
Nice segment with R-Truth retuning to save Kofi Kingston from an attack at the hands of Damien Sandow. Truth's return was a pleasant surprise and the commentators treated it as a major happening, which was nice to see.
I'm not sure where they're going with this, but I'm guessing it's the early build for a multi-man match at 'Mania. Kingston and Truth broke up only a few months ago and are better off as a singles competitors, so I see no real reason to pair them back up together at this point.
Decent match between Randy Orton and WWE Tag Team champion Kane. The action was nothing out of the ordinary and felt like it dragged on a bit too long, but no need to complain about getting more wrestling.
Daniel Bryan's interference was predictable, and I'm assuming they're teasing an inevitable Team Hell No split going into WrestleMania. Orton is floundering at the moment, so I don't have the slightest idea as to what he'll be doing at the show of shows.
The Rock Unveils a New WWE Championship Belt
Excellent segment involving The Rock's WWE Championship celebration. I, for one, like the new design of the title due to the fact that it's something different.
The spinner belt was extremely stagnant and we were in desperate need of a change, so it was only a matter of time. Sure, I can see how some people could have a problem with the Brahma Bull side plates, but I'd assume those would be removed once Rocky loses the championship.
Both John Cena and CM Punk played their roles very well here, with Punk tossing Cena's title to the ground, which I thought was perfect poetic justice.
Overall, a lackluster show following a hot pay-per-view where everyone was getting their hopes up for a number of monumental moments. Granted, we're nearly two months away from WrestleMania 29, so I can understand why they held back a bit this week.
Even still, there were a number of poorly booked segments on this show that didn't have me looking forward to 'Mania at all. However, the important thing is that they did an effective job of building toward next week's show, which could turn out to be great with what is advertised.